Roadtrip Vignettes, Part 8: Murdock Campground, Sawtooth National Forest, ID

Doc worked as the campground host at Murdock Campground and the other ones nearby. He told me he had owned a bike shop in Tucson, AZ, sold it a few years back and hit the road. He took temporary and seasonal jobs to make ends meet. "Sometimes I don't even take temporary jobs," he said, and hesitated.

"Because you don't have to?" I offered.

"Yeah," he agreed.

He had a Santa Cruz Tallboy on the rack on the back of his truck, a beautiful bike built up with premium parts. I commented on the bike and he said he didn't really feel like he had it dialed yet. "I had a Niner that I loved, but it got stolen off the rack," he said. When I asked how it happened, he said, "I didn't figure it out until afterwards. I was in Dallas. When I left the trailhead after I was done riding, some guys in a van left too. When I turned left, they turned left. When I turned right, they turned right..."

Unsurprisingly, he had strong opinions about bikes. We talked about frames and forks and tubed versus tubeless and mountain gruppos and and how he'd gotten several sets of full XTR at Interbike a couple of years back for like $900 or something, which is a crazy deal and doesn't even seem fair. He was a friendly, loquacious fellow. Maybe that had something to do with it.

After he sold the shop, he'd first gone to North Carolina.

"Supposed to be good mountain biking out there," I said.

"It's okay," he said. "But there are no views, not ever. People out there don't even know what they're missing."

"That's good," I told him. "It keeps them away from here."

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